The Parkland College Blog

Trustees Approve New Gen Ed Certificate

GECC Certificate incorporates state's basic gen ed requirements

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Future Parkland College graduates will be able to place an additional credential on their college resumes before leaving with their degrees, without spending more to earn it.  

The Parkland College Board of Trustees Wednesday approved the school's new General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) Certificate, incorporating into the credential the state's basic general education requirements for college freshmen and sophomores.

Since 1998, Parkland College has participated in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), a statewide agreement allowing students to transfer their completed Illinois General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) course package between participating institutions. By completing the courses, distributed across five academic discipline areas, students can be assured that they have satisfied the lower-division general education requirements for their transfer institution's associate in arts or bachelor's degrees, without having to take additional lower-level gen eds.

Illinois Community College Board rules now allow colleges to award an official certificate to a student who completes the GECC. This GECC certificate is not a workforce certificate or an industry-recognized credential. It is, however, a powerful tool to aid in transfer and completion.

In other business Wednesday, trustees administered the oath of office to Matthew R. Monferdini, a graduate of the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center. Prior to being hired by Parkland College Public Safety, Monferdini served as a security officer with Riverside Medical Center, in Kankakee. He has attended Kankakee Community College and the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Trustees also approved the following:

  • disposal of two pistols no longer needed by the Public Safety department

  • resolution identifying work contracts to the Installment Purchase Agreement entered into in connection with the issuance of Series 2008 and 2009 debt certificates

  • personnel appointments:

    • Holly Laurent, Administrative Assistant to VPSS, Administration Office

    • Le Hoang Nguyen, Environmental Safety & Sustainability, Physical Plant

    • Thomas Murray, Police Officer, Public Safety

New Career Program Degree, Certificates

Trustees approve three new credentials at meeting

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Parkland College officials approved curricula for three new career credentials and learned more about a new student start-up cohort coming this spring.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school's new Advanced Unmanned Aircraft Systems certificate, the Agriculture Retail Operations certificate, and the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS degree. The programs will go through a final review for approval with the Illinois Community College Board and, in the case of the AAS degree, Illinois Board of Higher Education in the new year.

The nine-credit-hour Advanced UAS certificate course capitalizes on a field seeing significant growth and sector diversification; drone operations affect defense, precision agriculture, remote sensing, journalism, municipal police and fire, real estate, and other industries. Parkland's Institute of Aviation offered its debut UAS certificate this fall and is using National Science Foundation grant funds to increase this valuable training. Building on the current certificate, the Advanced UAS certificate course will prepare aviation and UAS students with specific skills in drone data collection, improving employment as commercial UAS operators.

The Agriculture Retail Operations certificate and its parent program, Advanced Applicator Technician AAS, are a part of the planned Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture at Parkland College, and were developed in response to the need of retail agribusiness leaders within the precision agriculture sector. The AAS program will prepare students for careers as advanced applicator technicians. Graduates will be proficient in basic agronomic skills, operating applicator equipment, and applying applicator procedures in accordance with Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The certificate program will prepare students in inventory management, agribusiness-related computer applications, as well as the basic agronomic and computational skills required in day-to-day operations at retail facilities.

Stephanie Stuart, Parkland College's vice president for communications and external affairs, gave a status report on the new CobraVenture student entrepreneur cohort. Eleven current Parkland students representing a variety of academic disciplines were selected to participate in the program debuting next month.

Trustees also approved the following:

  • purchase of a flight training device from Frasca International, Inc., Urbana, for $335,000. The purchase of the Frasca Piper Archer AATD flight simulator will provide the training platform needed to adjust to ongoing aircraft upgrades and will more economically train flight instructors on new aircraft equipment.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Julia Hawthorne, Director of TRiO/Student Support Services, Student Services

    • Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, Student Services

    • Jacob Walwer, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Justin Jacobson, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Jonathan Goebel, Head Coach/Fitness Center Director, Athletics

    • Stephanie Manuel, Nursing Adjunct Faculty, Health Professions

    • Maret Matthew, International Student Services Advisor, Admissions

    • Katie Raisner, TRiO/Student Support Services Advisor, Student Services

Parkland College Board of Trustees Petitions Filed

Four candidates will run for three seats opening up in April

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Parkland College officials announced today that four candidates have filed to run for positions on the Parkland College Board of Trustees.

Bianca Truitt Green of Champaign, Jonathan Westfield of Savoy and Douglas Jones of Champaign have filed for the two six-year trustee terms that are expiring next April. Green and Westfield are incumbent trustees who have served on the board since 2015 and 2017, respectively. Jones is a surgeon at Christie Clinic in Champaign.

James L. Ayers of Monticello, also an incumbent, has filed for the four-year term expiring in April. Ayers has served the on the board since 1989.

The two six-year terms will run through April 2025, while the four-year term will run through April 2023. The election will be held April 2, 2019.

Trustees Approve 2018 Tax Levy, Project Drop in Tax Rate

Levy increased to capture revenue from increasing property values

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At its November meeting, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the 2018 property tax levy, heard a quarterly report from the Parkland College Foundation, and swore in its newest police officer.

Trustees approved an increase to the school's property tax levy Wednesday night that will allow the college to capture additional tax revenue generated by an increase in the equalized assessed value (EAV) within the district. Officials assured the board and community that, based on the projections, district homeowners and businesses should still see an overall decrease in the college's tax rate on next year's bill. 

Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles shared that a recent survey of counties' EAV indicates an aggregate EAV increase of 4.52 percent over last year. For homeowners, the projected rate would decrease from $.54 to $.53 per hundred dollars of equalized assessed valuation.

After holding a public hearing on the issue during the meeting, trustees voted unanimously to make the $32 million levy request for 2018, an 11.84 percent increase over its 2017 tax levy extension in order to tax at the maximum operating tax rates with increases to the EAV of up to approximately 14 percent. Tax revenue to the college will be based on the actual extension, which will take place in the spring. 

Board members heard a report from Parkland College Foundation Executive Director Tracy Wahlfeldt that indicated more than $200,000 in scholarships had been awarded for the fall 2018 semester. Wahlfeldt shared that foundation funds have been used to make significant upgrades recently to the Staerkel Planetarium, the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre, and the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center. 

Trustees also approved the school's FY2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) audit, including the Schedule for Federal Awards, Internal Control, and Compliance reports. The report presented the college with an unqualified "clean" opinion of its FY 2018 financial statements, the best type to receive from independent review. 

During the meeting, the board swore in Somphon "Sam" Penland as a peace officer for the Parkland College Public Safety Department. Penland, a resident of Champaign, is a 9-1/2-year veteran of the Joliet Police Department. She worked previously as a telecommunicator and security guard at Parkland College.
 
In other business Wednesday, trustees approved the following:

  • the Parkland College 2020-2021 academic calendar, which had been approved by the school's faculty-staff senate and college council. Registration and payment deadlines for instructional sessions within each semester will be published in the class schedule and online at the college website,parkland.edu, and the student and employee portal, my.parkland.edu.

  • the Board of Trustees' 2019 monthly meeting dates. Trustee meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in Room U325 on the Parkland campus unless otherwise announced; meeting dates will be available on the college's website.

  • renewal of the pricing agreement with global cloud software company Desire2Learn. D2L's Brightspace Learning Environment (branded at Parkland College as "Cobra Learning") is the learning management system students and instructors use for online, hybrid, and face-to-face course communication. The current pricing agreement expires June 30, 2019. 

  • personnel appointments:

    • David Ford, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Joseph Leinweber, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • John L. Maxwell, Groundskeeper, Physical Plant

    • David Farmer, Groundskeeper, Physical Plant

    • Jerow Scheel, Police Officer, Public Safety

Parkland College Shows "Clean" Fiscal Health in Audit

Trustees receive external audit, fall enrollment, tax savings reports

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Parkland College's financial fitness has again received top marks in the school's external audit. 

On Wednesday, Parkland College's Board of Trustees officially accepted the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from Martin Hood, LLC. The report presents the college with an unqualified "clean" opinion of its FY 2018 financial statements, the best type to receive from independent review. The audit highlights the college's exemplary fiscal management and includes reports on Parkland's schedule of expenditures of federal awards and its internal control over financial reporting and compliance.

Also at their regular meeting, the trustees heard reports on fall enrollment and on the tax savings homeowners will receive due to bond refinancing.
 
The board received the fall enrollment update from Dean of Enrollment Management Kristin Smigielski. Smigielski noted the number of high school students taking advantage of Parkland courses continues to increase, with a 21.61 percent increase in early college enrollment through dual credit, Early College and Career Academy (ECCA), and the new Early Transfer Academy (ETA). While fall 2018 headcount decreased by 1.19 percent, the college's enrollment decline overall has slowed and diversity of the student population continues to increase. 

Chief Financial Officer Christopher Randles also reminded trustees that the college has completed its bond refinancing, and the result will be a projected 2.18 percent decrease in the college's taxpayer burden. The college will also set the levy for tax year 2018 in November. 

The Trustees also approved a program-specific reduction-in-force of a full-time faculty member effective in academic year 2019-2020. 

In other business Wednesday, trustees approved the following:

  • the purchase of white paper from Veritiv Operating Co. of Morton, Ill., for $24,480
  • emergency expense for the D-wing elevator for Kone, Inc. of Peoria, $54,138
  • new boiler system for the Child Development Center from Reliable Mechanical Co. of Champaign, $45,340
  • purchase of Kaplan Test Prep's Integrated Testing Program and NCLEX-RN Review Course for its Practical Nursing program, up to $23,850 
  • personnel appointments:
    • Krystal Garrett, Assistant to the President and the Board of Trustees; Garrett will fill the position vacated by Nancy Willamon on Feb. 1, 2019.
    • Beth Burdette, Purchasing Agent, Business Office
    • J. Maurine Sterrett, Financial Aid Assistant, Financial Aid and Veteran Services
    • Melanie Whited, Academic Success Coach-Student Engagement Specialist, Center for Academic Success
    • Somphon Penland, Police Officer, Public Safety
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